[b-hebrew] Is "Kiriath Arbe" in Genesis an Historically-Documented City Name?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Oct 16 14:39:28 EDT 2008


On Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 7:56 AM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> Is "Kiriath Arbe" in Genesis an Historically-Documented City Name?
> ...
> In sum, scholars to date (1) have not documented a city-name "Hebron" in
> secular history prior to the 8th century BCE, (2) have not identified
> ")LNY" in
> secular history, and (3) have not documented a "Kiriath Arbe" or city of
> "Arbe
> " regarding a Patriarchal location in secular history in any time period.
> But if the Patriarchal narratives are historically based (as I believe they
> are), then certainly there should be  s-o-m-e  secular historical
> confirmation in
> the Bronze Age of at least one of these three geographical names.
> Let's use our knowledge of Biblical Hebrew to find an historical Bronze Age
> city in Canaan whose name is the linguistic equivalent of "Kiriath Arbe" or
> city of "Arbe".  Then we'll go from there.
> Let the chips fall where they may.
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois

Yes, let the chips fall where they may.  In order for that to happen, the
documents need to be analyzed as to their trustworthiness, their dating and
what they actually say.

When were the Tell Amarna letters written? According to secular historians,
it could have been as late as the 11th to 10th century BC. The surviving
Egyptian records are so poor as far as their dating that we cannot be sure.
That's Israel's early monarchic period.

When Moses compiled Genesis during the middle bronze age, he included
linguistic and literary clues that he used older documents to compile the
book, specifically literary clues that indicate an early bronze age date for
the source documents. As such, Genesis is the most extensive surviving
record of early bronze age Canaan in existence, by far, at a time when
highland Canaan (where Hebron, Kiryat Arba and the Oaks of Mamre were
located) was a largely unpopulated backwater well away from the trade routes
of the time, mostly ignored by the great empires of its day, whether Ebla
and its successors to the north, or Egypt to the south. Therefore, it is
highly unlikely that these names should show up in early bronze age
documents from those empires, so unlikely that I would be, frankly, very
surprised if even one of them is found. But their absence in empire
documents does not mean absence of the names among the locals, as I
indicated in an earlier message.

Therefore, looking at the uncertain dates of the Egyptian records, connected
with an analysis of what Genesis actually says, leads to the conclusion
(chips falling where they may) that your theory has no support in either
historical or linguistic realms.

By the way, I do not accept that the Documentary Hypothesis (JEPD Theory)
has a shred of trustworthiness (for the record). Others disagree.

Karl W. Randolph.

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